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Sammy DeLeon 

Sammy DeLeon and His Orchestra. Sunday, December 31, at Nighttown.

Sammy DeLeon and his Orchestra, one of the best Latin bands in this area, is led by timbales player DeLeon, a former music director at the popular Impacto Nuevo. DeLeon has performed in New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as locally, and has opened for Tito Puente, whose praise he earned. He has also worked with a variety of popular Latin artists and groups, including El Gran Combo, Tito Rojas, and Tony Vega. DeLeon's group contains four vocalists, a trumpeter, saxophonist, pianist, bassist, and three percussion players. They perform a varied selection of mostly danceable selections, including Latin jazz, salsa, and merengue -- a style of music that originated not in Cuba or Puerto Rico, but in the Dominican Republic, and has recently become popular all over the Caribbean and U.S. Often described as a party band, DeLeon and his crew like to interact with the audience; during breaks, they circulate through the crowd, sometimes fielding questions about the history and characteristics of their music. The last time he played at Nighttown, in August, audience members were so taken with DeLeon's music that they started dancing next to their tables. As a consequence, when DeLeon returns for a New Year's Eve appearance, Nighttown's management will, for the first time in the club's history, install a dancefloor for the patrons' convenience.

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